Throughout their dynamic career as one of the most important groups in hip-hop, A Tribe Called Quest always rode comfortably in their own lane. From properly bringing the jazz to the game to helping introduce J Dilla to the masses, their seat in the hip-hop hall of fame was reserved years ago…which makes the unfortunate loss of Phife Dawg all the more painful.
The key to Tribe’s lyrical dynamic was a sort of yin and yang between Q-Tip the Abstract and Phife Dawg, the five foot assassin. While Tip could get more esoteric with his pen, Phife always felt like he was more gritty, more street, and always hilarious. Phife brought the heads who were looking for witty punchlines, and he brought them in spades to anything he touched. Some of Tribe’s most memorable lines came out of Phife’s mouth, and for that alone, he will sorely be missed.
Today, with the news of his passing still raw, we look back at some choice lines and rhymes from Tribe’s designated shooter. Just shut your shit and clap your hands.
Lyric: “Now here’s a funky introduction of how nice I am/Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram/I’m like an energizer ’cause, you see, I last long/My crew is never ever wack because we stand strong.”